Author Archives: danielkopf

Empty Stands Haunt Marist Athletics

By: Daniel Kopf

Marist College has had a successful school year on the athletic fields capturing four Metro Atlantic Athletic Championships as well as garnering numerous individual accolades.  For years Marist athletes have been breaking records and winning championships under a shroud of apathy from the student body.

Student attendance at sporting events has been mediocre at best.  Students are usually too lazy to attend, only to be lured to a game by the promise of free food and t-shirts. These may be a treat to the regular attendee but the real treat is being able to support our college athletes.

A familiar image at Marist College

A familiar image at Marist College

Failing to support our athletes not only shows a lack of commitment towards our peers but to the university as well.  In 2007 Marist renovated Leonidoff field, increasing the field’s seating capacity to 5,000. According to statistics compiled by the NCAA, Marist ranked 109th in Division I-FCS football last year with an average attendance of 2,527, barely filling up the stadium to half capacity.

Marist Football isn’t the only sport with below average attendance.  According to NCAA statistics 28, 571 fans showed up to the support the Men’s Basketball team this season, 81,441 less fans than arch rival Siena.  These numbers do not even account for the fact that most of the fans that fill the Mcann Center are alumni and local fans.

If there is a silver lining to the apathy that plagues this campus is that there is hope.  Once a year Marist students pack the Mcann Center for the NCAA’s Pack the House Challenge.  This year Marist became one of six schools to sell out recording over 3200 fans.

There is no reason why this cannot be a common occurrence.  If students can “pack the house” once, then why can’t they do it every week, besides If Marist students don’t fill up the stands and support our teams then who will?

Virus Targets Apple Computers

Once thought impervious to computer viruses, Apple computers are now facing their first bout with a harmful computer virus. Anti-virus company Symantec, creator of Norton Anti-Virus discovered the virus known as the “iBotnet”. The iBotnet virus is a Trojan horse virus hiding itself in pirated copies of iWorks 09, a program similar to Microsoft Office.

According to CNN.com, the iBotnet virus has only affected a few thousand Mac machines. Many fear, however, that this number might be on the rise.

“As Macs continue to steal the business of PCs, more viruses will emerge to combat Macs. However, Mac’s OS (Operating System) requires a password for information to be downloaded, making viruses largely ineffective,” long time Mac user and Marist Sophomore Andrew Clinkman said.

The emergence of the iBotnet virus has many Marist Mac users fearing a lack of technical support.

“I find my problems as a Mac user with software and hardware is much harder to repair at a place that is not Mac friendly. However there is a growing population of Mac users in ResNet,” Clinkman said.

Despite the ominous tones the iBotnet virus brings, it is preventable and treatable using several different methods.

To prevent the Trojan horse, Symantec suggests downloading anti-virus software such as Norton Internet security for Macintosh.

The company also suggests keeping your computer updated with the newest patches. Users are also advised to use complex passwords, and to change them frequently. The full list of precautions can be found here http://www.symantec.com/norton/theme.jsp?themeid=ibotnet.

Although Mac users should start to become aware of potential viruses, they should not panic yet.

“Because Macs aren’t as affected as PCs are, viruses have less opportunity; Macs have a much simpler system,” Vassar Library employee Alex McCoy said.

New Gospel Choir Director Counters Adveristy with Music

Daniel Kopf

Melodious sounds resonated through the corridor, the sounds emanating from a small dimly lit room tucked away in Marist Colleges Music department. In the room stood 16 members huddled around a piano singing loudly with emotion and conviction. At the center of the music was David Burns, Marist Colleges Gospel Choir director.

“Music has been a part of my life since I was two years old,” Burns said. “My Parents told me I liked music and I’ve been playing the piano ever since.”

David came to Marist College after hearing about the job from a friend. Choir Director Sarah Williams realized something special about David right away. “When David first came to Marist I threw him in to teach Chamber Choir and told him to make it better. He put a lot of meaning into the song.”

Religion is also an integral part of David’s life and incorporates it in his work every day.

“After every rehearsal we pray, making us aware that we are not just singing a song but that each song has its own meaning,” said Gospel Choir member Aforme Agawu-Kakraba

Music has always been a part of David‘s life but there was a time when it looked like he would never play the piano again.

Early in college David was diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. According to Webmd.com “Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, tingling, and numbness in your hand from pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.”

“Sometimes the pain was so bad I couldn’t feed myself,” David said.

The pain finally caught up with David and he was faced with a choice. “I had to either undergo surgery or end my piano career,” David said.

The choice was easy for David choosing the risky surgery despite the chance that it would not ease his pain.

The surgery was a success but the victory was without its negatives. “I had to relearn how to play the piano after years of dedication and commitment.” David relearned playing the piano using the Russian technique, a technique used to minimize strain on the wrists.

David is now at full strength and has not felt pain since the surgery. Despite the setback David did not let the possibility of never playing again get in the way of Music.

“Music is my passion. I love teaching and sharing with students, you also learn as well,” David said.

Australia’s Proposed Internet Blacklist Stirs Controversy

By: Daniel Kopf

A media firestorm erupted last week after the leak of a proposed internet blacklist by the Australian government. The blacklist would block access to the sites Internet Service Providers or ISP’s, rendering the sites inaccessible by Australian citizens. The blacklist includes over 2,400 websites, mostly consisting of sites such as child pornography and online gambling.

The controversy surrounding the list centered on the inclusion of seemingly innocent sites such as a dentist’s website, and a pet care website. Many critics also accused the list of being politically skewed. According to Time.com, sites advocating legal euthanasia, Satanism and Christianity were also on the list.

The news of the proposed blacklist was leaked by the website Wikileaks.org. The list is the product of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the governmental body that regulates all Australian media.

Australia's Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy

Australia's Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy

The ACMA is overseen by Australia’s Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy, who has maintained that the leak will not stop the government from implanting the proposed blacklist.

Despite the proposed blacklist taking place in a country almost 10,000 miles away the consequences of a government proposed blacklist has startled some Marist Students.

“A blacklist is against anyone’s rights if someone’s site is blocked because someone in an administration doesn’t like a particular political issue, they are infringing on our freedom of speech,” Marist sophomore Cynthia Dagenais said.

Other Marist students feel the blacklist protects people from the dangers of the internet. It would be great if the sites could be blocked because that way people would not be exposed to different things,” Marist sophomore Laura Osberg said.

The proposed blacklist also raises questions about Marist’s non-restrictive internet policy.

“For a college, anything that is illegal or any downloadable content should be blocked,” Marist junior Bobby Reyes said.

Some students at Marist do agree with the Marist’s decision not to block access to any website including the website juicycampus.com which was a main point of controversy last semester.

“I don’t think Marist should block these websites because it appears as if there is a hidden agenda. Marist can’t tell us that euthanasia is completely wrong, or that we can’t see sites on Satanism, etc.If you block one site, other sites might be blocked too,” Dagenais said.

Marist College Joins the Green Revolution

By: Daniel Kopf

Marist College took the next step towards its goal of having an environmentally conscious campus last month when they announced their plans to implement a self sustainable house in Foy next year. This house is part of the theme housing across campus and will group people together that want to live in an environmentally conscious house.

Seniors, juniors and sophomores are eligible to live in the house, upon request and submission of an essay. According to the co-chair of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee Steve Sansola, the essay must include your reasons for wanting to live in the house.

Marist College

Marist College

According to Sansola, the students will do anything they can to minimize their carbon footprint including using reusable bags while food shopping, using minimal electricity and by practicing water saving techniques.

Foy is the first in many planned self sustained buildings. The New Hancock Center which will open in fall of 2010 is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Compliant, an accolade given out by the United State s Green Building Council, to recognize environmentally friendly buildings.

Self sustainable buildings are just one of the steps Marist has taken towards furthering their environmental awareness. The creation of these buildings was headed by the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee, which was created in 2007 by Dean Murray in an effort to create a greener campus.

Marist is also trying to reduce their strain on the environment through other means. The Information Technology department has made the change from regular ink cartridges to soy ink cartridges, reducing the amount of waste put into the environment. Campus Dining is contributing to Marist’s green revolution by offering zero waste catering which deposits the waste in compost piles.

These recent efforts to “go green” have been noticed by the Marist community.

“I think it’s great that we are going green,” Sophomore Patrick Dillion said. “It’s good to use recyclables especially in this time of global warming.”

Despite Marist’s recent efforts, some students feel that Marist should have started a green revolution earlier.

“Marist should have started sooner. They just built all this new housing and none of it was environmentally friendly, it was a waste,” Sophomore Dana Nichols said.

Others feel now was the perfect time to start.

“Right now it’s a perfect storm of higher costs and a shortage of energy,” said Sansola. “We are also more aware of eco-destruction. In many ways I think people have begun to change their lifestyle more and more since the fall of the economy.”

Despite their difference in opinion, they both acknowledge the importance going green has.

“It’s important to live this way so we can leave Planet Earth for those who follow us,” Sansola said.

YouTube Video Cited In Court Case

By: Daniel Kopf

A new era in law was entered last month when a YouTube video was cited in a court petition. The YouTube video shows Florida Deputy Jonathon Rackard tasering 23 year old Jesse Buckley after Buckley refused to get off the ground. The Supreme Court is deciding whether or not Rackard used excessive force against Buckley.

The citation was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida last month after the 11th Judicial Circuit Panel ruled that the force was not excessive.

The incident happened after Buckley was pulled over for speeding. According to the New York Times, “it completely undid Mr. Buckley, who said in an interview that the prospect of paying a $175 ticket was just too much given his personal and financial troubles at the time.”

The You Tube video has amassed over 40,000 hits since it was posted last September.

The use of the YouTube video in court has raised many questions about the use of videos in future cases.

“Anyone involved in a court case should be able to present whatever relevant evidence is available,” Mark Grabowski said, a lawyer and media professor at Marist College.  “YouTube videos may be able to provide additional evidence in helping a jury determine what happened and whether a wrong has occurred.” 

Despite the usefulness a YouTube video might have it also presents negatives.

“To me YouTube videos could be easily doctored, they also could be taken out of context which could skew the outcome,”  Cornell freshman Heather Lee said.  

Context is important when dissecting evidence as it can produce different opinions than originally intended.

“It is important, however, for juries to consider the context of the video, to recognize the limits of the story told by video and to consider video evidence in conjunction with other types of evidence that may be offered,” Mark Grabowski said.

The future of YouTube videos in the court remains uncertain, but many scholars find the future implications have far reaching effects.

“Video evidence has successfully been used against wayward law enforcement officials who otherwise would have gotten the benefit of the doubt in a “my word versus yours” claim,” Grabowski said. “Big Brother may be watching us. We’re watching Big Brother, too.”

Hulu Leads Television Revolution

By Daniel Kopf

For almost 80 years television has been the main source for entertainment. Internet Television provider Hulu.com is leading the revolution causing an influx of viewers to watch television on their computers.

Hulu.com was started in 2007 by NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners. Hulu offers viewers videos from over 130 content providers including media giants FOX and NBC.

hulu_tv_show-pageWatching online videos on the internet has boomed in the last several months culminating in a record 14.3 billion videos being watched by the U.S in December. Hulu profited from the boom as a record 24 million videos were watched on the website.

Many attribute this boom to the several advantages online videos have over television.

“Hulu allows viewers more control and offers fewer commercials,” said Media Arts Professor Keith Hamel. “It has the same advantages of a VCR and DVR. It allows users to break away from control of the medium.”

Hulu’s recent growth however does not hide its shortcomings, as it does not offer as wide of range as programming as users would like.

“I feel it could expand its content. I know it has to do with rights but the powers that be should extend the length of time a program is on the website,” said Marist College Sophomore Matthew Esposito.

Along with not offering content from CBS and ABC, Hulu does not support user generated content, a staple of online giant YouTube.

Despite Hulu’s criticisms its growing success has ignited the debate whether or not television on the internet is the hulu_main_homepage1future.

“Who knows what the future holds, will it replace television yes, with another form of television I don’t know,” said professor Hamel.

Online videos might be the future of television, but Professor Hamel says they’re not as similar as it might seem. “In terms of actively seeking it out Hulu is different. What you see on Hulu is a diversion. But it’s not as much of a recreation, its constantly calling you back, you are still divided but not recreationally.”